Fertility decline and demographic aging are major factors in the languishing global economy, say experts whose findings were reported in a week of front-page stories in The Wall Street Journal.
“Experts have struggled to understand why the global economy still languishes years after the 2008 global economic crisis,” said Susan Yoshihara, Ph.D., of C-Fam. “They are now willing to say that demographic decline is a major cause.”
“The experts have found that in a globalized economy, one nation’s demographics affects the rest of the world,” said Yoshihara, co-editor of Population Decline and the Remaking of Great Power Politics.
Next year the working-age populations of the major economies will decline for the first time since 1950, and this includes Russia and China. Meanwhile, the major economies’ share of people 65 and older will soar. Their need for durable goods produced in developing countries will diminish, leaving in doubt the prospects of the world’s next generation.
“Japan now tracks hearing aids instead of school lunches in its consumer price index,” said Yoshihara.
Experts say that one-fourth of the world will be African by 2050; at 1.3 billion-strong with an average age of just 28 years, Africans will provide the world’s workforce.
Africa lags behind East Asia in creating jobs and infrastructure, like schools and roads. Just 9% of Nigerian adults are fully employed, the Journal said, a typical figure for the region.
Like other developing nations, India faces “premature deindustrialization” and high unemployment. As developed countries age, the demand for what factories make, from cars to furniture, is leveling off.
China capitalized on its huge working-age population to become the world’s second largest economy after the United States. But after three-decades of state-enforced family planning, factories in China face worker shortages and singletons leaving the workforce to tend to aging parents.
China’s demographic dividend has become a “demographic drag,” according to the Journal. One reason is that decades of killing baby girls in China, as in India, is “obliterating universal marriage, the underpinning of socioeconomic organization for centuries.” By mid-century, there will be 186 single men for every 100 marriageable women in China and 191 such men in India.
The United States has emerged as a comparative winner. On average, developed countries’ workforces will shrink 26% by 2050 while America’s will grow by 10%. Moody’s Analytics in an analysis for the Journal forecasts that the U.S. trade deficit with China will turn positive by 2042, in large part due to America’s demographic advantage over China.
LifeNews Note: Susan Yoshihara writes for the Center for Family and Human Rights. This article originally appeared in the pro-life group’s Friday Fax and is used with permission.